We have not had much to update about in the last couple months as everything has seemed to be business as usual. We are both still studying Thai. I, Brian, have completed a second grade comprehension test and Jessica is just entering the first grade. She is doing really well for just having started a few months back. She has just completed the reading and writing course and will now go into Thai school curriculum. I am starting a course on Thai life, learning about culture and the everyday way of life. We are excited to be progressing as quickly as we are. After finishing this one I will be able to switch to electives and finally start learning the Bible language. We have had some opportunities to practice as we make friends with the young people living at the church dorms. I have started teaching some young guys English and have really been enjoying it. I am finding that being able to explain to them meanings in Thai makes for a quicker comprehension and I can verify they understand by having them tell me what the English sentence means in Thai.
In May Thailand had its first ever Faithcamp. This was really meaningful to so many of the missionaries here since Faithcamp in the States had been the catalyst that sent so many of us into the mission field in the first place. Jessica and Asher were unable to go but I hopped a train to our friends place in Ayutthaya and rode with them to Muak Lek to the Adventist university where we held the camp. It was so awesome to here the testimonies of what God has been doing in the different parts of Thailand. If you are not familiar with Faithcamp, you can check out their website here Faithcamp or even better, if you are in the Spokane area or planning on heading there for the ASI convention next month, Faithcamp West will be at the Upper Columbia Academy in Spangle Wa. just 30 min from Spokane from July 29-Aug 2. There are many speakers who have served or are serving in various parts of the world. Many of them are from Thailand this year and are people doing awesome service. If you think that the Gospel of Christ has gone to the whole world and we are just waiting for Jesus to come, you definitely need to go. It was an eye-opening experience for Jessica and I.
In more personal news, potty-training has been going on for the last couple weeks with great progress being made. We haven’t had to clean a dirty diaper since the first day, which is an even greater reward when you are using cloth diapers. We just barely survived the hot season. We got to the point that I even went and investigated the best price and was going to buy an a/c unit. But thankfully we found a way more cost effective option, a 22″ wall-mount fan. Jessica kept telling me blowing hot air would not help us cool down, until the second night when we were fighting over a blanket. Turns out, if you get a big enough blade turning, even hot air feels cold. An added bonus was that it is at a similar decibel rating to a small aircraft and it cut the outside road noise off almost completely.
We have also made some new friends who are close to our age and have 3 kids, 1 of their own and 2 adopted Karen (a Burmese hill-tribe) boys. It has been so nice to have people our own age to fellowship with. It afforded us our first date night in over 2 years. We watched their kids one night, they watch ours the next. When we first met them I thought he looked familiar and turns out, I went to ministry school with his brother. Such a small world. They have been taking us rock climbing in a little area an hour from here and that has been great. While Chiang Mai is significantly smaller than Bangkok, it is still a city of almost 1 million. While some of you may think that doesn’t sound big, when you consider that the entire country of Thailand is a little bigger than California and smaller than Texas yet has a population almost 3 times that of Texas; taking into account the vast jungles and mountains, you end up with a pretty good idea about how on top of each other you are in the cities. We have been grateful for the opportunity to be in the wilderness that we love so much. Neither of us had climbed before and it has been an awesome new experience. Asher loves playing in the dirt and rocks too.
There was a bad accident that turned into a blessing last week. Jessica and I have not gotten used to how tall Asher has gotten recently and had left a knife on the breakfast table. While in the kitchen we heard a noise and Asher crying, I ran out to find our big knife on the floor at his feet. Terrified at what might have happened, we checked him and found that it had dropped right on the tip of his big toe. We were so grateful it was just that, but after a half hour realized it needed a couple stitches. When it was all over we were waiting for our number to be called to pay our bill and struck up a conversation with an Australian who had broken his foot on day 2 of his vacation stepping off the curb at 7-11. He was called up and I wheeled him over and sat back down. I happened to look at him and notice he was struggling to get his credit card to work. He ended up not having enough money. We were able to help cover what he didn’t have and then give him a ride to his hotel, help him stock up on supplies for the next few days and get a sim card for his cell phone. It is always a blessing to be able to help others and that was a highlight of the week. Sharing with him how God had set it up for us to be there for him. Asher had his stitch taken out this evening by Dr. mom and everything is fine.
A youth Bible study for the Thai students staying in the dorms here has started on Sabbath afternoons going through the book of Daniel. I was glad to have the opportunity to sit in on it this week. It was amazing to me to listen to the presenter go through an explanation of who Abraham was down through Isaac and Jacob to give a background to these kids, many of whom have gone through Adventist Christian schooling all the way through high school. I have still not been able to get used to the fact that even in the Christian churches, there is little knowledge of the Bible. People have no idea how to study their Bible. It is a nice devotional book, but how to find answers for their personal lives seems to be unheard of. We are more and more convinced that there is a great need for training on how to have a personal relationship with God. Coming from a religion based on karma and works with the highest power in your life being you, the concept of a God that loves them and gave everything to give them a new life can be a challenge. We are praying that God will send laborers into His harvest field. If God has been moving on your heart to do more for Him, I recommend you prayerfully consider attending Faithcamp and talk with Jon Wood, the founder. It would be a decision that could change your life, and maybe even save it. One quote I heard shared at Faithcamp here that will not leave me was by a retired nurse living in the jungle alone, serving the needs of the people who live there. She said “my life is just a candle. I don’t know if I have a long time or short time to burn. But I would rather have my candle burn out in a place filled with darkness, than a land flooded with light.” I cried when I heard that. I was so comfortable living in the States and just being content with my life and happy God had changed it. I never even considered that there were people, even Christians, who knew nothing of the peace that I have in Christ. God has called us all to be a ‘light to the world’ but we have to be willing to break away from the comfort of all the other ‘candles’, and light up an area of darkness. Christ is coming soon, the news we are getting from the States is confirming that, when He comes I want to have some interest to give to Him rather than just giving back what He left me. (See Matt 25:13-30)
May we allow Him to free us from our self focus and open our hearts to the world around us.
Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. -Titus 2:13